Tucson Region
Man freed before cops linked him to slaying
By Alexis Huicochea
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 12.29.2005

A 19-year-old man wanted in connection with the slaying of an ice-cream vendor was detained by police several weeks after the July 25 shooting, a detective said Wednesday.
But Felix Gaxiola-Flores hadn't been identified as a suspect in the death of vendor Cosme Encinas-Valenzuela at the time he was taken into custody by officers investigating a stolen vehicle at a South Side motel.
When another person was arrested in connection with the stolen vehicle, Gaxiola-Flores, a Mexican national, was released to the Border Patrol and sent back to Mexico.
He hasn't been seen since, Tucson police homicide Detective Fabian Pacheco said Wednesday.
Police say Gaxiola-Flores approached Encinas-Valenzuela while the latter was working at the Casa Grande Village Apartments, 5950 S. Park Ave.
"He went up to him, demanded money at gunpoint, and (Encinas-Valenzuela) refused," Pacheco said.
Encinas-Valenzuela was then shot to death.
The investigation led police to Gaxiola-Flores, who is now wanted on a first-degree-murder warrant.
Police have learned that Gaxiola-Flores had come to the United States about 13 times illegally and was voluntarily returned each time, Pacheco said.
He is known to steal cars and is involved in drug activity, he said.
Anyone with information on Gaxiola-Flores' whereabouts is asked to call 911 or 88-CRIME. The suspect should be considered armed and dangerous, police said.
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